Seventeen-year-old Anya Preschnikov wants to become a famous actress but she’s faced with two problems. Her father ignores her and doesn’t have any money to support her. At school, she’s bullied on a daily basis, yet she believes that she will gain her stepping-stone to stardom if she’s accepted by her peers.
All of this changes when Maria Hernandez–an immigrant from Spain–comes to Peach Valley Senior High. Maria knows what it takes to fit in. She’s assertive, confident and she dresses suggestively, characteristics that all of the popular kids admire. Yet she sees in Anya what no one else sees: beauty and talent.
When Maria extends her hand of friendship, Anya is elated. Her rise to popularity is about to become a reality, but it ends at a house party when a boy’s rude comment sends her into a rage.
Desperate to belong somewhere, Anya and Maria seek new friends outside of school. They meet Alex and Marissa, a young couple who eagerly welcomes them into their world of parties and drugs. Anya and Maria soon find out that Alex is a drug dealer, but they are so lured by his wealth, good looks and aggressive confidence that they can’t resist his friendship. They don’t know that Alex’s gang is at war with a rival gang–one that’s run by Anya’s older brother, Adrik–until one incident puts their lives in danger’s path. To make matters worse, Alex won’t let Anya and Maria out of his sight. The two teens are forced to make a decision that’s a matter of life or death.
Christmas Through The Eyes of Anya Preschnikov (MC in To be Maria).
It had been published on my blog last year, then in the July Issue of ‘Supporting Authors One Read at a Time’ emagazine. But since November is closer to Christmas, I think this will go well.
Christmas. As far as I can remember, no one in my supposed family has ever celebrated Christmas. I mean, my dad’s a chronic alcoholic. And a loser. He can’t even hold onto a job. I mean, I don’t think he can. He hardly even talks to me, so I don’t know anything about the latest job he works at.
Sophia, my younger sister, apparently got invited to a friend’s place for a celebration on Christmas day. I didn’t think she had any good friends. She’s quite the bitch you know. So, when I heard that she was invited out, I was quite surprised. And jealous and hurt. Of course, Sophia had to tell me that she’s spending all of Christmas Eve with that friend’s family.
“I can’t wait to spend Christmas with my best friend,” she had to tell me.
I felt incredibly insulted by that comment, so I had to ask, “Well, what about your older sister? Am I not good enough to spend Christmas with? I’m your sister for god’s sake.”
You know how she responded? She cast me a side glance and said, “Dream on, Anya. You can’t give me what I want. Besides, I’d far rather be with my friend than with you, Dad and your stupid boyfriend.”
Boy did I lay into her. “Fine! Go! A very Merry Christmas to you too. I hope you choke on your friend’s turkey while you trip over a gift.” I still don’t regret saying that to her. Ever since she entered sixth grade, she’s been a self-serving, snot-nosed little bitch. I’m so sick of her shitty attitude. Now that I think about it, I’m glad I don’t have to see her over Christmas. Hopefully, she’ll stay with her friend for the entire holiday. I’d rather spend Christmas alone than with her.
At the beginning of November, Patrick told me that his family will be spending Christmas with his relatives in Ireland. Like I said earlier, I’ve never celebrated Christmas and frankly, I’ve never liked it, but I don’t want to be alone. I’ve spent Christmas with the O’Connell’s the last four years and we’ve always had a really good time, despite the fact I don’t like Christmas. They sure know how to celebrate. Their house is always decked out with bright lights that make the snow sparkle at night.
I really like the nativity scene that they put on display in their living room. I’m not a Christian, yet I get so drawn in by the baby Jesus and his father and mother. I’ve heard the Christmas story so many times, I always think about how tough their lives were in those days and I can relate to them. They were poor, like me. There was no room for them in the inn. They had no house, no family to take them in and then they had to run far away because, if they would have stayed in Bethlehem, King Herod would have killed their only son. Whenever I think about them, I don’t feel so bad.
When I first heard that Patrick won’t be here, I was really upset. I cried for several hours after I got home from school. I’ve been secretly hoping that they’d take me with them to Ireland, but Patrick hasn’t asked me and I don’t think it would be right to invite myself. Besides, his relatives don’t know me. It wouldn’t be the same. So, I guess I’ll have to do something to keep myself from going nuts. I could really use some steady income, so I think I’m going to get a job. I’m also going to get ready for my auditions.
We have to audition for Mr. Hawthorne’s–my acting teacher–advanced acting class. The auditions are in the middle of January. I want to be an actor so bad, so I have to get into this class. It means all the world to me. So, I better get ready for it, like now.
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